You may find yourself riding down the streets of Eugene for a cause this weekend. And you may be completely in the nude. Eugene’s annual World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR), a mass protest of cyclists against oil dependency, initiated in 2006, is upon us again.
While it is a naked bike ride, you aren’t necessarily expected to be naked. In fact, clothing is absolutely optional, says Eugene’s current WNBR coordinator Ralph Forrest-Ball. Colorful costumes are encouraged, he says, allowing for better visibility by motorists. “A good superhero costume would be great,” he says. And wearing your helmet when riding a bike is always encouraged.
About half the riders (between 60 and 80 riders total in past years) go completely naked, says Forrest-Ball. “Or they wear nothing but body paint.” They’ll be riding naked to emphasize their “indecent exposure” to automobiles, he says. “We ride our bikes naked, or nearly so, to remind fellow travelers that cyclists are vulnerable when sharing the road.”
And people of all ages are welcome. Forrest-Ball says, “Anybody can spontaneously join, if they want to,” he says, adding that he can only assume that anybody under 18 would be joining with parental permission.
Police spokeswoman Jenna McCulley says Eugene police aren’t particularly concerned about this year’s WNBR. “This isn’t the first time they’ve hosted it,” she says, “and past rides were peaceful and law-abiding.”
While the route changes across years, all potential riders should expect to meet at the corner of Lawrence and Cheshire, one block west of Skinner Butte at 4 pm Saturday, June 9. The event is slated to start at 4:30 pm. It will probably be over around 6 pm, Forrest-Ball says, but that depends on what the riders decide.
“Last year the ride was about 7 miles; this year I think we’re going to go a little bit longer,” he says, somewhere between 8 to 8.5 miles. “We’re operating by consensus,” Forrest-Ball says, “if everybody wants to quit, OK, let’s just quit.”